The weekly ‘Humsafar Express’ was pressed into service from Bhubaneswar for Krishnarajapuram and daily ‘Intercity Express’ was launched between Bhopal and Khajuraho by Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu through videoconferencing in Delhi.
A foundation stone of mechanised laundry was also laid at Bhubaneswar, while WiFi services were made operational at Sambalpur and Vizianagaram stations.
The Railways, in partnership with Google, provided free WiFi services at 110 stations last year. The national transporter has a target of providing WiFi facility to 200 stations by the end of 2017.
“Providing better passenger amenities is one of the focus areas of Railways. Mechanised laundry and WiFi services add on to the travel experience,” the railway minister said.
Civil Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju, Water Resources Minister Uma Bharti, Tribal Affairs Minister Jual Oram and Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan were also present on the occasion.
While there was a lot of excitement over the launch of Mahamana Expresse in Bhopal, enthusiastic passengers were allegedly unable to book a ticket as there was no information about the train on the official portal of the Indian railways, the Times of India reports. Hence they were unable to attend the maiden run of the train. Regardless, the railway minister launched the services with aplomb, adding that investments related to railway projects were increasing substantially in states like Madhya Pradesh, Odisha and Andhra Pradesh.
Prabhu said that the Bhopal-Khajuraho Mahamana Express was cheaper than travelling by bus, as a bus commute would add up to Rs 500, and a similar train would cost Rs 170.
He also stated that through these additions, the Indian Railways was contributing towards Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision of bringing change in the lives of common people.